Parishes: Shipborne

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 5. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.

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'Parishes: Shipborne', in The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 5, (Canterbury, 1798) pp. 45-53. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

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SOUTHWARD from Ightham lies SHIPBORNE, called in the Textus Roffensis, SCRIBURNA.

THIS PARISH lies the greatest part of it below the sand hills, and consequently in that part of this county called the Weald. The village is situated at a small distance southward from the foot of the hill, round Shipborne green, having the church at the west side of it; and about half a mile further westward, near the boundary of the parish, is Budd's green, On the rise of the hill is the mansion of Fairlawn, the offices and great part of the grounds of which are within this parish, where the soil is a clay, being a heavy tillage land; in the southern part, at and about the hill, it is a sand and rock stone; at the southeast part of it there is much coppice wood, a deep and miry country at all times, most of it being exceedingly unpleasant either to live in or to travel through.

The fair continues to be held on the day of St. Giles the abbot, being Sept. 1, yearly.

JOHN DE SAY seems in the reign of Henry III. to have held in Siburne, of the earl of Gloucester, one knight's fee, and the fifth part of one, (fn. 1) which soon afterwards passed to Adam de Bavent, the principal possessions of whose family lay in Sussex and Surry.

Adam de Bavent, in the 12th year of Edward I. obtained a grant of free warren for his lands in Shipborne, and a market to be held weekly on a Monday, at his manor of Shipborne, and one fair yearly on the feast of St. Giles the abbot. In the 28th year of that reign, he was with the king at the siege of Carlaverock, in Scotland.

Hawis, widow of Sir Roger de Bavent, his descendant, in the 36th year of king Edward III. released to the prioress and convent of the priory of Dartford, then newly erected, all her right, in the manor of Shipborne, which that king by his patent of endowment, in his 46th year, confirmed to them, together with all knights fees, and other things belonging to it.

This manor continued part of the possessions of the priory of Dartford till the general dissolution of it in the reign of king Henry VIII. when it was surrendered into the king's hands, who in his 36th year granted to Sir Ralph Fane, and Anthony Tutsham, esq. the manor of Shipborne, late belonging to the monastery of Dartford, and the manor of Shipborne, alias Puttenden, lying on the east side of this parish, next to West Peckham, and late belonging to the monastery of Tunbridge, and the lands and chapel of Shipborne, with all their appurtenances, &c. to hold of the king in capite by knight's service; (fn. 2) Soon after which Anthony Tutsham released all his right and interest in them to Sir Ralf Fane.

He had been knighted at the siege of Bulleyn in 1544, and afterwards for his valour at the battle of Musselborough, in the 1st year of king Edward VI. made a knight banneret; but in the 6th year of that reign, having warmly espoused the interest of the duke of Somerset, he was accused of being an accomplice with him, and being found guilty was hanged on Tower-hill, that year. After his death, without issue, these manors, together with the lands and chapel of Shipborne, came into the possession of Henry Fane, great grandson of Henry Fane, of Hilden, in Tunbridge, who was grandfather of Sir Ralph Fane, above-mentioned.

Henry Fane, esq. was of Hadlow, and after the decease of his father was unwarily drawn into that infurrection raised by Sir Thomas Wyatt, in the 1st year of queen Mary, and being taken was committed to the Tower and attainted, but on consideration of his youth he had pardon, and was released from his imprisonment.

Next year being the 1st and 2d of Philip and Mary, he had a grant of these manors, and chapel of Ship borne, from the queen, to hold to him and his heirs, by the same services, by which they were held before his attainder. He died in 1582, the 25th year of queen Elizabeth, possessed at the time of his death, as appears by the inquisition then taken of these manors.

Henry Fane, his grandson, assumed the name of Vane, the antient one of his ancestors, which his posterity have continued to use ever since.

In the 17th year of king James I. he was knighted at Whitehall, from which time he acted a conspicuous part in the public affairs of this nation, and was chosen to sit in every succeeding parliament, both in that and the next reign. King Charles I. entrusted him much in different negociations with foreign princes, made him cofferer of his houshold, and of his privy council, and in 1632 one of the commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral. He was afterwards much employed in commissions of the greatest weight, with others of the highest office and quality, and was made comptroller of the houshold, at which time he purchased of Sir George Chowne, THE MANSION OF FAIRLAWN, with the lands belonging to it, situated in the borough of Plaxtool, in Wrotham and this parish. (fn. 3) After which he was made treasurer of the king's houshold, and principal secretary of state, and empowered to hold those two offices together.

But not long after, on his appearing forward in the prosecution of the earl of Strafford, who had implacably offended him, by obtaining the title of baron Raby, which was Sir Henry's house, and an honor which he had hopes of acquiring himself, the king took such umbrage at it, that he removed him from all his places, and Sir Henry from that time concurred in all the malicious designs of the king's enemies, and forgetting all former obligations, sacrificed every principle of honor and loyalty to his implacable thirst of revenge; but in the end, finding himself growing into the hatred and contempt of those who had made most use of him, as well as of his own son, (fn. 4) he retired to his seat of Raby-castle, in the bishopric of Durham, where he died in the latter end of the year 1654. He left several sons and daughters, of whom Henry became his heir, and George was of Long Melford, in Durham. (fn. 5)

Henry Vane, esq. succeeded his father in his estate, in Shipborne. He had been knighted at Whitehall in 1640, but from his education at Geneva had imbibed such a sharp prejudice and bitterness, as well against regal government as the hierarchy of the church, and this being heightened by the king's giving away the barony of Raby from his family, that following his inclination, he associated with the most discontented persons of that time, so that he became one of the most inveterate of the independent and republican faction. He had been made by the king joint treasurer of the navy, by the interest of the earl of Northumberland, during which he affected to be satisfied with government, and afterwards, when his real inclinations came to be more openly known, he was intrusted with the same office solely by the appointment of the parliament. On the restoration of king Charles II. being excepted out of the general pardon, he was committed to prison, where he was kept some time, and at length being brought to his trial, he was convicted of high treason, and receiving sentence of death, was executed on Tower-hill in 1662. Thomas Vane, esq. his eldest son, succeeded his father in his estates in this parish. He married Frances, daughter of Sir Thomas Liddel, of Ravensworth, in Durham, and died without issue, on which his estates devolved to his brother Christopher Vane, esq. who was of Fairlawn, and was afterwards knighted by Charles II. In 1688, he was made by king James of his privy council, and in the 10th year of king William III. anno 1699, created lord Barnard, of Barnard castle, in the bishopric of Durham. (fn. 6)

He married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Gilbert Holles, earl of Clare, and sister and coheir of John, duke of Newcastle, by whom he left surviving two sons, Gilbert and William, and a daughter Grace. He died at his seat of Fairlawn, in 1723, and was buried in the new church of Shipborne, built by his own bounty. On which Gilbert, his eldest son, succeeded him in title, and in his estates in the north, and William, his second son, became possessed of his father's estates in Shipborne, Plaxtool, and elsewhere in this county.

The arms of the several branches of the Fanes, or Vanes, are three gauntlets, though differently borne. The earl of Westmoreland bears, Azure, three dexter gauntlets, with their backs affrontee, or; as did the lord viscount Fane, a descendant of the same branch. The earl of Darlington bears, Azure, three sinister gauntlets, with their backs affrontee, or. And lord viscount Vane bore, Azure, three sinister gauntlets, or, on a canton ermine, a pile sable, charged with a mullet of five points, argent.

William Vane, esq. the second son, was of Fairlawn, and was chosen to serve in parliament for Durham, in the year 1708, and in 1720 was created viscount Vane, and baron of Duncannon, of Tyrone, in Ireland. He died suddenly of an apoplexy at Fairlawn, May 20, 1734, having on the Friday before, the 17th, been declared duly elected to serve in parliament for this county, and was buried in Shipborne church. Upon which, William Hollis Vane, his only surviving son, became his father's heir, and succeeded him in titles and estate. He married Frances, daughter of Francis Hawes, esq. one of the South Sea directors in 1720, and widow of lord William Hamilton, younger brother of James, duke of Hamilton, by whom he had no issue, and dying in 1789, by his will gave these manors, his seat of Fairlawn, and the rectory of the chapel of Shipborne, among his other estates to David Papillon, esq. of Acrise, the present possessor of them.

BUDDS is a hamlet in this parish, lying about three quarters of a mile westward from Shipborne church, where a family of the name of Collins formerly dwelt. Henry Collins resided here in the reigns of king Henry VIII. king Edward VI. queen Mary, and queen Elizabeth, and dying in the 35th year of the latter, was buried in this church. His eldest son, Richard Collins, gent. was likewise of Budds. They bore for their arms, Vert, a griffin segreant, or, beaked argent, gorged with a coronet of the third. How long it continued afterwards in this name I have not found, but John Turner, gent. in the reign of king James I. resided at Budds, and bore for his arms, Argent and ermine, three fer de molins, or, a pale counterchanged in fess, on a chief, or, a lion passant guardant between two roses. It is now the property of George Children, esq. of Tunbridge.


FRANCIS COLLINS, by will in 1599, gave for the use of the poor the annual sum of 1l. charged on the house called the Bull inn, in Rochester, and 2l. likewise on lands in Gillingham, vested in Mr. Page.

N. B. This last pays the land tax, and the two bequests by journeys, expences, &c. reduces them to the annual produce of 2l. 7s. 6d.

JOHN SWAN gave by will 10l. and his executors by deed in 1614, purchased with it an annuity of 10s. for the use of the poor, charged on lands in this parish, vested in the heirs of John Bellingham, lately deceased, and now of that annual produce.

STEPHEN FREMLYN, by will in 1717, gave by deed, for the use of the poor, the annual sum of 1l. to be paid out of lands and tenements in this parish, vested in Mr. William Collias, and now of that annual produce.

SHIPBORNE is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDISCTION of the diocese of Rochester, and deanry of Malling.

The church is dedicated to St. Giles, and is a neat fabric. It was entirely rebuilt from the ground by the bounty of Christopher, lord Barnard, in the beginning of this century.

It was antiently esteemed as a chapel to the church of Tunbridge, and paid six-pence chrism rent to the mother church of the diocese.

John, bishop of Rochester, in the 7th year of king Edward II. certified to the king's treasurer and barons of the exchequer, in obedience to the king's writ, directed to him for that purpose, that the prior of the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem had within his diocese the appropriation of the church of Tonebregge, with the chapels of Schibourne and St. Thomas the Martyr, which was worth yearly thirty-four marcs, being part of the antient possessions of that hospital, and upon a like writ in the 20th year of Edward III. Hamo, bishop of Rochester, certified to the king's treasurer, &c. a like return. (fn. 7)

The chapel of Shipborne belonged to that part of their revenues which was under the cognizance of their preceptory or commendary of Peckham, otherwise called the chantry magistrale in this neighbourhood, and it remained part of the possessions of the abovementioned hospital till the time of its dissolution in the 32d year of king Henry VIII. when this order of knights was suppressed by an act then specially passed for that purpose, by which all their lands and revenues, &c. were given to the king and his heirs for ever. After which the king, in his 36th year, granted to Sir Ralph Fane, and Anthony Tutsham, esq. among other premises in this parish, the lands and chapel of Shipborne, with their appurtenances, in fee, to hold in capite by knight's service. (fn. 8) Soon after which, Anthony Tutsham released all his interest in them to Sir Ralph Fane, in whose family they continued, as has been already fully related in the account of the manor of Shipborne, down to William Holles viscount Vane, who devised them by will to David Papillon, esq. the present owner of them.

This chapel is now esteemed as a curacy, and is not in charge in the king's books. It pays a fee-farm rent of eight shillings yearly to the crown.

Chapel of Shipborne.

Or by whom presented.
Family of Fane, alias Vane . . Bowles, in 1627. (fn. 9)
Scott, in 1680.
Theophilus Beck, 1690.
William Davis, in 1721, obt. Jan. 29, 1747. (fn. 10)
Leonard Addison, M. A. (fn. 11)
John Francis, M. A. (fn. 12)
Hemington. (fn. 13)
Henry Austen, M. A. (fn. 14)
Knox. (fn. 15)
David Papillon, esq. Vicesimus Knox, the present curate. (fn. 16)


  • 1. Book of Knights fees in the Exchequer.
  • 2. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. 23. Philipott, p. 314.
  • 3. Philipott, p. 315. See a further account of it under Wrotham.
  • 4. Clarendon's History, vol. ii. p. 163.
  • 5. Collins's Peerage, vol. vi. p. 135.
  • 6. See the Case of the Vanes, as heirs to the Duke of Newcastle, in Brown's Cases in Parliament, vol. v. p. 435.
  • 7. See more of this chapel under Tunbridge.
  • 8. Rot. Esch. ejus an. pt. 23.
  • 9. MSS. Twysden.
  • 10. He was also vicar of Tunbridge, where he lies buried.
  • 11. Afterwards rector of Saul and Cawston, and vicar of Saxthorpe, Norfolk.
  • 12. Afterwards vicar of Soham, Cambridgeshire.
  • 13. Afterwards vicar of Tunbridge.
  • 14. Afterwards rector of West Wickham.
  • 15. Master of Tunbridge school.
  • 16. Master of Tunbridge school, and vicar of Hadlow, vice Wm. Fitzherbert, deceased.